Original Link: http://thinkprogress.org/2011/04/15/gop-end-medicare-and-shutdown/
By Ian Millhiser
When President Obama proposed ensuring affordable health care to all Americans, Congress spent a year hashing out how best to achieve this goal. Yet when Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) decided that he wanted to phase out Medicare, the GOP-controlled House took only two weeks to debate and pass this radical proposal. This afternoon, House Republicans overwhelming endorsed his plan to eliminate Medicare, slash education, and jack up the middle class’ taxes. 235 Republicans supported the Medicare elimination bill, with just 4 GOPers casting a vote to leave Medicare unmolested.
The centerpiece of the House Republicans’ plan is a proposal that repeals traditional Medicare and replaces it with a health insurance voucher that loses its value over time. Because the value of the Republicans’ privatized Medicare replacement does not keep up with the cost of health care, their plan will gradually eliminate Medicare because its increasingly worthless vouchers will eventually only cover a very tiny fraction of the cost of a health insurance plan.
Seniors will feel the effect of the GOP’s draconian plan long before it succeeds in phasing out Medicare. According to the CBO, total health care expenditures for a typical 65-year-old “would be almost 40 percent higher with private coverage under the GOP plan than they would be with a continuation of traditional Medicare” in the very first year that the GOP plan goes into effect:
Of course the GOP budget doesn’t call upon all Americans to share this sacrifice. Seniors may lose their health care, but the wealthiest Americans will all be treated to a massive tax cut.